This month, we’re looking at the Revise step of the writing process. It’s pretty rare for writers to write perfect first drafts. We usually need to do revisions, often in several rounds of drafts.
Depending on the draft, you might revise for several different elements, like plot, character, and so on. Sometimes I can do two things at once, if I can keep them in my mind, but it’s often just one at a time. I know I write short drafts and need to add to flesh things out more. I usually start with adding descriptions of people, places, etc. Then I add character parts like Deep Point of View (thoughts and feelings from the character’s point of view) and backstory. And as a historical novelist, I stop and do more research as needed to add those details (setting, clothing, events, etc.).
I often do a round or two of revision on my own, then do more after I get feedback from critique partners. (See October’s post for more about cycling between response and revision.) For instance, I may spend one round adding to a main character’s thoughts and feelings within her narrative. I may spend the next one adding to the other main character(s). The next round may be adding more to the subplot or theme. Near the end, I look at smaller issues like word choice, dialogue tags, etc. It can take me ten or more rounds to get the draft in decent shape, with a few breaks to see things more clearly. Some writers can write fewer drafts. You’ll want to play with it and see what works for you.
Don’t get discouraged with the time it takes to get things just right. Revision is your chance to make your words shine. Have patience that it will all work out. You can do this!
Please comment if you have any questions. Take care. See you next month.